Business Pensacola

Latest on parking at Vinyl Music Hall

April 21, 2017

Curt Morse, executive director of the Downtown Improvement Board, went on “Pensacola Speaks” to clear up confusion over Vinyl Music Hall blocking off parking spaces on Garden Street for bands to load off equipment for their concerts.

Originally, the media reported that a citizen had his car towed from one of the spots. When reporters tried to find out by authority what did Vinyl have the power to do it, no one seemed to know. Morse said he was unaware of any agreement with the DIB or its parking management company. City Hall had no records.

“Our financial coordinator was out on vacation, and of course we run a very, very lean operation here so not a lot of hands on deck that were able to answer that question for me,” said Morse. “So I ran with what I knew, which was very little.”

When the financial coordinator returned, she told Morse that she knew about an agreement.

“We went to the archives and found binders of past use agreements for everything from those meters there on Garden Street adjacent to Vinyl Music Hall, as well as other use agreements for things as innocuous as dumpsters that are in parking place,” said Morse.

He had found an agreement with Vinyl for the spaces, but it had expired in January 2016. For some reason, his predecessor, Ron Butlin, failed to renew it. Butlin resigned last September for health reasons, and Morse took over in November.

“The unfortunate reality is the DIB in past has possibly not run as lean and as efficient as it could,” said Morse. “So what we’re working on now with our team is trying to refine those processes, make sure they’re in place so that things like this don’t happen. “

Morse has met with the management of Vinyl Music Hall. A new use agreement has been signed, and Vinyl will also pay for use of the spaces in 2016.

He said, “They’ll be paying a 25-percent premium on those parking spaces to have the privilege of using them the day of the show so that they can provide that adequate parking for a tour bus and a trailer to come in and unload, perform, load again, and then leave.”

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  • JOY KRISTIN April 25, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Rick:

    I just came in from the DIB parking meeting and wanted to post an update.

    The DIB stated Vinyl does not have the authority to tow cars and the Use Agreement states Vinyl is responsible for any damages that arise.

    The DIB is looking at providing signage to Vinyl to alert customers not to park in the spaces.

    After my car was told and I brought this to their attention, the DIB met with Harry Levin, renewed their agreement that expired and charged Vinyl for the parking spaces used since the agreement expired.

    Vinyl signed 3 new agreements on 4-21-17.

    Vinyl paid the DIB $500 for the use of 2 metered spaces on Garden street for January 2016 through December 2016, on 4/21/2017,

    Vinyl signed a new agreement for 3 parking meters valid Jan-June 2017 at a cost of $180.

    Vinyl signed another agreement for 1 parking space valid April 1-30 2017.

    The DIB states that by renewing the spaces and collecting fees, does not shift liability to the DIB because the agreement does not allow Vinyl to tow.

    The current agreement ends in 30 days and the DIB parking committee is going to revise their agreement to make it fair to all businesses and include requirements of proper signage.

    After the meeting, Harry Levin told me he was upset the way I handled the situation, he has every right to tow vehicles in spaces he paid for, he denied that Vinyl is responsible any damages, he wont even pay my tow bill. Harry said he will “let the courts decide.”

    My attempts to contact Harry and Evan was through a message left with Brian Oden, emails to Harry , Evan and Teri Levin. When I discovered I had the wrong email address for Evan, I stopped by Evan’s home and left a note for him to call me along with all the documentation. After not getting a response, I left a note on Evan’s car, which turned out to be Harry’s assistant, but he did get the message. Brian Oden told me I was not allowed on their property, which is why I did not go to Vinyl, or 5 1/2 to speak to them directly.

    Harry said they did not respond to me because they feel they have been vilified and he felt my emails were “Threatening.” (I can assure you I would NEVER write a threat of any kind to a “Levin.”)

    I agreed the media response has been tough, but burying your head in the sand only allowed it to blow up further.

    I feel the DIB should not renew the agreement until they accept responsibility of their illegal actions because Vinyl violated the terms of the agreement on many occasions. My car wasn’t the first to be towed and according to Harry it is not going to be the last one, because Harry feels it is his right if he paid money. (Actually he paid money on 4-21-17 and he towed my car 2-18-17)

    Documented “Use” agreement was violations;
    1) When they towed my car. DIB was given proof of Tow receipt.
    2) When Vinyl bagged and blocked off 2.5 blocks of parking spaces, when the agreement allowed 3 spaces. DIB saw the video Brian Oden posted showing blocking off the spaces.
    3) Vinyl uses the spaces for their other business 5 1/2.
    Brian Oden of Vinyl told me specifically my car was towed because the bar 5 1/2 was hosting a private party (The CW55) and the VIP shuttle needed to drop off party attendees. The performing band did not come on a tour bus, but a white cargo van.

    This “Use” Agreement is a sweet deal for Vinyl because if the DIB didn’t allow it, Vinyl would be forced to purchase a parking lot with electrical plugs for the tour buses, or not bring in the larger acts.

    I personally see this as a privilege, not a right and they have abused this privilege.

    On a final note, the DIB is going to allow Public input. I recommend everyone concerned attend, because the next car towed could by yours.

  • Paul A. Szalai April 24, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    My recommendation is that the spots in question be designated a “loading zone” from 2pm until 6 am. Public parking the rest of the time. I have seen this done in other cities.

  • Dale Parker April 24, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Joy,
    In short, your car was “Stolen” and not simply towed. They did not have the legal authority to tow your vehicle. It is my understanding that the Towing Agency knows or should have known that your car was legally parked and that Vinyl did not have the legal authority to tow it. They are well aware of their responsibility. In fact, In South Florida I once had a towing company return my car to me with the help of Law Enforcement as I was about to press charges. All of that started over store owner that thought I could not park there and shop elsewhere.

    I strongly believe that the Towing company owes you the repairs and refund for towing your vehicle. I would file a small claims suit against them citing all of this as Facts in your case. If you hire an attorney, I would also argue for attorney’s fees as well

  • Joy Kristin April 21, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Rick:

    It was my car that was illegally towed in February.
    I made numerous inquires about “said” agreement and was told in February, there was no such agreement in writing, but a “Rumored” verbal agreement.

    Vinyl Music Hall purchased the Yellow Meter Bags the end of February AFTER they towed my car.
    Why was the new agreement signed this week and not when they purchased them?

    Florida laws are very specific about Tow signage requirements, which Vinyl does not follow.

    Section 715.07, Florida Statutes,
    a.The notice must be prominently placed at each driveway access or curb cut allowing vehicular access to the property, within 5 feet from the public right-of-way line. If there are no curbs or access barriers, the signs must be posted not less than one sign for each 25 feet of lot frontage.
    b. The notice must clearly indicate, in not less than 2-inch high, light-reflective letters on a contrasting background, that unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at the owner’s expense. The words “tow-away zone” must be included on the sign in not less than 4-inch high letters.
    c. The notice must also provide the name and current telephone number of the person or firm towing or removing the vehicles or vessels.
    d. The sign structure containing the required notices must be permanently installed with the words “tow-away zone” not less than 3 feet and not more than 6 feet above ground level and must be continuously maintained on the property for not less than 24 hours prior to the towing or removal of any vehicles or vessels.
    e. The local government may require permitting and inspection of these signs prior to any towing or removal of vehicles or vessels being authorized.

    More questions:

    Does the DIB, a taxing authority, have the authority to enter into these agreements?

    Why just Vinyl?

    Can other businesses have the same access in order to provide customers a “To-Go” parking space? (Tin Cow could certainly use one.)

    So now everyone knows Vinyl Music Hall did not have the authority to tow my car, no did they provide the proper signage as required.

    Perhaps they will see this and do the right thing by reimbursing me for the damages.